Today’s bike ride took me on my usual route down the hill and to the right to the bike racks next to the ER at University of Maryland Medical Center. I’ve done this ride at least a hundred times, likely more, but today felt a little different. Yesterday I learned that another cyclist was hit and killed by another car. I saw the post on one of my bicycle groups on Facebook, and commented on the link right away. How tragic, I said, because it’s always tragic. I know what it feels like to get the news that a car has taken someone you love. I know that when someone dies, they are gone forever, and you are forever different. I know this, and I also know how resilient we are in the face of grief, as long as we let ourselves feel it all–or as much of it as we can bear–and as long as we stay open to it, and talk about it. I know that a year and a half after my dad was killed by a car, I am ok. I feel joy again, not as often or easily as before, but it’s already back. And it hasn’t even been two years yet. But I’m different now, and it isn’t a difference I’d wish for anyone. It hurts, badly. So when I saw the news, I knew another group of people would now have to tread this far too well trod road, and I hate that.
If you know me in real life and have known me for awhile, you know this about me: I have a tendency to get really into things for a really brief time, and then I move on. Some of you have been with me long enough to have seen the break baking phase, the cigar collecting, the online support group dedication (13,000 posts in 100 days of quitting smoking–I was 100% dedicated to quitting smoking), running, drumming, swimming, and the list goes on. Continue reading
Monday’s bike ride took me up to Locust Point, and oh, it was lovely after a morning reading for pleasure and doing some light grading. I followed the usual bikeway down the hill and up and around the harbor to Federal Hill and then down Fort Avenue. The ride back was just the same, and I spent some of each ride thinking about cars, as one must do, of course, when trying to share the road with them. There’s so much push back about bikes on the road–cyclists break the rules, they run stop signs and red lights, they refuse to use proper lighting at night to be seen, they ride too fast/too slow/too bicycle-speed to be on the road, they don’t wait their turn, etc. I get that. I see it, and it makes me unsafe too, especially when riders don’t heed my right of way as a fellow cyclist. Ok, true. Continue reading
Wednesday was another commute in a long week of commutes in crazy weather. I misread the reports and decked myself out for a monsoon, plastic pants and all. Yeah, I didn’t quite need those. The commute went off without incident, to and from, until I started up Charles from the station to home. Charles has been under construction for awhile now, inching closer and closer to North Avenue. This is a main drag of Baltimore’s White Stripe, and it was in terrible condition–time for a real fix, inconvenient and dusty as it might be. Continue reading
I took the bike out for a couple of rides today, first to Waverly to meet R. and O. for some scheming and then home again, a quick stop for lunch and a pep talk with N. I didn’t have plans to go out again, necessarily, but I wanted to do a little night riding to test out my brand new light-up reflective LED safety vest. I waited for the sun to go down–just a little after 5pm, a pox on you, wintertime!–and got myself all suited up for cold temps and strapped on the vest. And then I turned the lights on. I was all lit up like a Christmas tree, and I felt like the Safety Monitor as I pedaled west and north. Cars gave me a wide berth, dogwalkers looked on admiringly, and the folks waiting at the bus stops waved and clapped. Continue reading
Tuesday’s bike ride took me to Locust Point, but I took a different route than I usually do. Usually I take Guilford down and up to the Inner Harbor bike/ped path around and up through Federal Hill, but on Tuesday, the very last thing I wanted to do was dodge pedestrians. I took Maryland Avenue down instead, dodging the cars turning on Franklin/40 and merging into one lane on that steep hill at Saratoga. I love taking all the lanes in this part of just-west downtown because there aren’t quite so many cars and besides, it’s just the safest way to travel. Continue reading
I’ve been off the bike for quite a few days, spending them wandering around beautiful (and I do mean beautiful) Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania with N., checking out museums and historic sites and restaurants and views–a lovely vacation. It isn’t a vacation without at least thinking about bicycles, so here’s my report: I want to ride my bike all over Pittsburgh and its many bike lanes, but I’ll need to be in my granny gear most of the time–that place is seriously hilly. Today, though, I was back on the bike in Baltimore, zipping down the hill and around the harbor and up the other side to meet A. for an early glass of wine before turning around and going back the other way to drop off the Surly for her end-of-summer check up. Continue reading